Tas Police officers to trial Windows 8 tablets

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Tas Police officers to trial Windows 8 tablets

Updated: Opens new front in tech spending push.

Tasmanian Police are to trial 3G-connected Windows 8 tablets over a three-week period to see if the devices assist frontline officers in their field duties.

Commissioner Darren Hine said 40 tablet devices would be issued to officers working the Kingston, Huonville, Dover and Bruny Island beats.

"Officers using these tablets will be able to submit reports live from the field rather than having to return to the station to complete their paperwork," Hine said.

"The tablets also enable them to directly access information rather than having to ring through for updates."

A Police spokesperson told iTnews that the trial would use "Acer Iconia Windows 8 tablets to ascertain if they are a suitable for the purpose."

Tasmania Police had previously trialled IPad and Android tablet devices, the spokesperson said.

A "graduated rollout" to other frontline officers would be "considered" if the trial proved successful, Hine said.

The trial is a fresh addition to a strategy unveiled in February that is meant to equip stations with wifi networks, replace desktop computers with laptops, and support BYO devices.

The Force also hopes to develop software to allow minor accidents to be reported online — removing the need for Police to physically attend.

The state's opposition police spokeswoman, Liberal MP Elise Archer, welcomed the technology trial but said more frontline officers were needed, rather than tablets.

Budget cuts have hit Tasmania Police hard. The Force ended 2012 with 49 less officers and cuts to station staffing.

Further cutbacks to a high-visibility anti-social squad were announced this week.

"If [state] Police Minister David O'Byrne thinks that giving police officers an 'iPad' is going to make up for the savage cuts that he made to the frontline then he is mistaken," Archer said.

"The number of police on the beat in areas like Kingston has been decimated.

"What Tasmanians really want are more police officers on the beat."

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